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Robert Friend

Robert Friend (1913 – 1998) was an American-born poet and translator. He settled in Israel in 1950, where he lived the rest of his life. He taught English and American Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for over thirty years. He was well known in Israel as an English-language poet and a translator of Hebrew poetry.


Robert Friend was gay, and his sexuality found expression in his poetry well before the Stonewall era. According to Edward Field in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American PoetryShadow on the Sun is "remarkable in that, for its time, it contains so many poems about the author's homosexuality." Friend's openness continued throughout his writing career.

Friend's first published volume of verse was Shadow on the Sun (1941). His last collection of poetry, Dancing with a Tiger: Poems 1941-1998, was published posthumously in 2003. He translated around 800 works from Hebrew, Yiddish, Spanish, French, German, and Arabic. Toby Press published two volumes of his translations in its Hebrew Classics Series: Found in Translation: Modern Hebrew Poets, A Bilingual Edition (2006) and Ra'hel: Flowers of Perhaps (2008). Among the Hebrew poets Friend translated into English are Chaim Nachman BialikRachelNatan AltermanLeah GoldbergGabriel Preil and Yehuda Amichai. 

Robert Friend

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